MY LAST column titled “Are You a Good Writer?” has been the subject of criticisms on the Internet. Some people may have misinterpreted it.

Much of it could be attributed to what I said in the second paragraph, which told of a conversation I had with a friend from the University of the Philippines-Diliman to the effect that in the State University, an applicant to a writers’ club would be asked, “Do you know how to write?” — as contrasted in UST where an applicant would be asked, “Are you a good writer?”

The paragraph– and the title itself — should not be taken literally. It was merely an anecdote to portray how some UST writers could be arrogant. It should not be regarded as a discouragement for Thomasians wishing to join a writing organization.

Simply put, the column was written with the purpose of serving as a “wake-up call” for UST writers who, in one way or another, tend to be boorish at the expense of making other people feel insulted. The intention was not to taint the Thomasian Writers Guild’s name, but to remind writers (who may or may not be members of the TWG) to stop bashing the name of UST as a home for some of the greatest writers of the land.

This mention of the TWG’s private thread was not to violate privacy, but to merely prove that such a thread exists. To be sure, whether or not it’s for public consumption, the thread exists and has been circulated or leaked by those taking part in the thread.

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To be honest, I was surprised to see the comments on the Varsitarian website about my column being “pathetic.” I believe my column was well-written and well-grounded. The citation of specific instances to support general statements is part of journalism. Some who commented on the site agreed that there are some campus writers who have puffed-up ideas about themselves and their writing just because they’re enrolled in UST which has a glorious literary tradition.

Last December 11, TWG members visited the Varsitarian office to talk about the column and to air their side. It was agreed to continue the discussion on a possible tie-up for a creative writing workshop. The discussion had started before the spat.

I understood from the meeting that an organization would like to nurture itself without bringing others down. When I wrote my last piece, I was thinking of the improper manner in which some TWG members would criticize the Varsitarian when if, indeed, the paper had committed mistakes or lapses, it could have been shared with us personally, considering that we had been talking about a possible collaboration.

From our meeting, I believe a lesson that has been learned would be to always keep an open mind and to learn how to reach out.

It is always better to have friends than enemies. I guess it would be a merry Christmas for TWG and the Varsitarian, after all.

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